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Nobara Project brings whole bunch of extensions so you can frag noobs on Fedora 35

Brand new and a bit wobbly, but it says good things about Linux's maturity

The Nobara Project is a fresh flavour of Fedora 35 aimed at Linux gamers and streamers. It's very new and the website is mostly just a placeholder, but it's already causing controversy.

Windows is the default OS for PCs so PC games mostly tend to aim at Windows. If you want to run your games on Linux, that involves a bit of extra legwork. Valve Software's Steam runs on Linux (if not without some glitches early on), Proton can help with running current Windows games, and Lutris with older ones. If Proton isn't quite current enough, a developer nicknamed "Glorious Eggroll" offers Proton-GE, a cutting-edge build with the latest patches and support.

Nobara is a new project from Glorious Eggroll, or Thomas Crider as we suspect his friends call him. He works for Red Hat, and also contributes to WINE, Lutris, and other projects. Nobara is basically Fedora 35 plus a whole bunch of extensions: the latest Proton-GE and Lutris, as you might guess, plus installers for AMD and Nvidia drivers, and the RPM Fusion repo of third-party add-ons and extensions enabled.

Another Red Hatter, Christian Schaller, is less happy about the perceived need for such specialised distros and remixes. He argues that needing special editions and special configurations is a weakness in distro design, one that should be fixable if the core operating system is good enough. A mature distro should be able to automatically configure specialist hardware, find and install the right drivers on its own, and make it easy to find whatever specialist apps a person with a particular "use case" may need.

That is indeed a laudable goal… but then again, even Windows itself hasn't got there yet, and it has more manpower and money behind it than all the alternative OSes combined. But there is a deeper question behind this one: should one size fit all?

Many rival Linux distros are driven, at heart, by personal preferences, not always by technical merit. Fedora has a split personality. On the one hand, it's a community distro built from free software, which is why it doesn't have some proprietary components that come included with Ubuntu or Mint. But it's also the technology testbed for future releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is why Fedora doesn't have Ubuntu's long-term support releases.

The author gave Nobara a quick spin (pun intended) on his trusty testbed Thinkpad T420, and it didn't go as smoothly as vanilla Fedora 35. The OS struggled to bring up the Wi-Fi interface, although it worked after multiple reboots. It correctly detected the machine's Nvidia GPU and offered to install the driver – but the driver installer didn't notice that there was no internet connection available so installation failed.

These glitches are entirely forgivable. Nobara is brand new and built from cutting-edge components. For some people, this will be very valuable; it's just what a Fedora gamer might need.

On the other hand, an Ubuntu gamer might prefer Gamebuntu.

Nobara offers the choice of GNOME or KDE, neither of which I happen to care for. Fedora's MATE desktop works better for me, and Xfce better still. Although I was using Red Hat in the 1990s, after 18 years on Ubuntu, I'm now more comfortable with its apt package manager. But these are just my preferences, I'm not claiming they are universal truths.

One universal distro for everyone is impossible because not everyone wants the same thing. Some will prefer Garuda's bling while it puts others off.

It says good things for Linux's maturity that it's now feasible to game on it. Gamers demand high performance over more traditional Linux virtues such as reliability or security. Diversity is good. The more upstart distros that advance the state of the art, the better. ®


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